The Feminist Encyclopedia of German Literature

By Friederike Eigler; Susanne Kord | Go to book overview

N

Nachspiel. A dramatic genre indebted to the Lustspiel tradition of the Schwank and the Possenspiel, the Nachspiel flowered in the 18th century. Although it might have a loose thematic connection to the main dramatic work, the Nachspiel usually provided comic relief to the preceding tragedy. Nachspiele were typically improvised and centered on a Hanswurst figure; hence, they were predictable, but highly entertaining. The Nachspiel also served the practical function of rounding out an evening's entertainment. Because of their improvisational nature, few Nachspiele from the first half of the 18th century survive. Although her husband, Johann Christoph Gottsched, was eager to cleanse the 18th-century stage of such bawdiness and to turn the theater into an instrument of moral instruction, Luise Gottsched was a prolific author of Nachspiele. Her most celebrated and influential work in this genre is Der Witzling, ein deutsches Nachspiel ( 1745), a comedy in the tradition of Molière. Like most of Gottsched's female characters, Jungfer Lottchen in this Nachspiel is more independent in thought than in deed. Gottsched's contemporary and intellectual parallel in the 18th-century German theater, Karoline Neuber, listed 31 Nachspiele in her repertoire, many of which she had written herself. Few of them survive in print.

With the demise of the Hanswurst on the German stage, the Nachspiel lost its primary raison d'ètre. By 1800, the Nachspiel had become the object of parody in Johanna Franul von Weißenthurn's one-act play entitled Das Nachspiel ( 1800). In the play within the play, which is the Nachspiel, the uncle invokes conventional patriarchal authority in matters concerning his niece's marriage, while the frame play contrasts distinctly, if not uncontroversially, with that view. Late in the century,

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The Feminist Encyclopedia of German Literature
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • A 1
  • B 37
  • C 61
  • D 83
  • E 105
  • F 139
  • G 195
  • H 229
  • I 253
  • J 263
  • K 271
  • L 275
  • M 293
  • N 345
  • O 375
  • P 383
  • Q 429
  • R 431
  • S 465
  • T 515
  • U 531
  • V 537
  • W 553
  • Y 579
  • Z 581
  • Appendix of Names 587
  • Index 637
  • Contributors 673
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